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Uninsured Often Receive Less Medical Care

escription medicines. Higher proportions of uninsured individuals reported a decrease in health status (classified as much worse) approximately 3.5 months after the health shock. Uninsured individuals with UIs were more likely to report not being fully recovered and no longer receiving treatment. At approximately seven months after the health shock, uninsured individuals with NCCs still reported worse health status.

"The findings for uninsured individuals with a new chronic condition are of particular concern. Because chronic conditions generally require care over an extended period, the finding that the uninsured are more likely to report no longer being treated at the first follow-up interview suggests that their care may have been inadequate. Moreover, their greater dependence on emergency departments for care probably increases the likelihood that their care will be episodic and lack continuity. For individuals who require treatment for chronic conditions, a continuing relationship with a clinician and appropriate medication use may be especially important for improving or maintaining health status," Dr. Hadley writes.

"The results of this analysis imply that the failure to address the problem of no insurance for U.S. individuals will have adverse health consequences. Moreover, the fact that these consequences apply to uninsured individuals who experienced unintentional injuries or new chronic conditions runs counter to the perception that the uninsured receive care, either through the safety net or their own resources, when they really need it (e.g., when they experience a health shock from an unintentional injury or develop a new chronic condition)," he writes. "If the proportion of individuals without insurance continues to increase, more and more persons may experience preventable deteriorations in their health."

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